The Aubade, the Eohippus and the Attotesla

The aubade is an antonym for a word you know already, which is “serenade”. Serenades are to be sung in the evening, the aubade, in the morning. Wiki gets more precise, and says, “In the strictest sense of the term, an aubade is a song from a door or window to a sleeping woman. Aubades are generally conflated with what are strictly called albas, which are exemplified by a dialogue between parting lovers, a refrain with the word alba, and a watchman warning the lovers of the approaching dawn.

Eos, as crossword puzzle fans know, is the name of the Goddess of the Dawn. Crosswords puzzles are how I learned about  her, the Rosy-fingered Goddess of flower-embroidered saffron robe.  Her brother was Helios, the Sun god and her sister was Selene, the Moon goddess. She slept around a lot, and had a buncha babydaddys. Those gods of myth were a freewheeling bunch. Eos was the Mother of several notable offspring, including the Winds, Zephyrus, Boreas, and Notus and the Morning Star, Eosphoros all of whom she bore to the Titan, Astraeus and Memnon, her son by Tithonus.

Eos’s name is introduced to many a fossil-fascinated child by way of the four-fingered, three-toed protohorse, “eohippus”. Fittingly, eohippus lived in the eocene era. That was eons ago. That era leaves us no eoliths, for there were no eohumans back then.

One of the other words that caught my eye this morning was “attotesla”, or one quintillionth of a tesla.   (The tesla is a unit of magnetic flux density.) Why “atto”? “Atto” is from “Atten”, the Danish or Norse for “eighteen”. Why “eighteen”? A quintillionth of something is that number to the minus eighteenth. Who comes up with this stuff? For those of you who would like to know more, go to this URL. http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/A29779159 At this site you will also learn what a “zeptomole” is.

You will also learn that two thousand mockingbirds may be referred to as “two kilomockingbirds”.

And if all this drives you to drink, you should have a “tequila mockingbird”.

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